Workforce investments continue in early years sector
As the early learning and child care sector continues to grow in Prince Edward Island, the province is launching a new one-time Return to the Early Childhood Education Profession Grant, to help recruit early childhood educators back to the sector.
The Return to the ECE Profession Grant will provide a one-time $5,000 grant to eligible early childhood educators, who have worked outside the sector for a minimum of two (2) consecutive years and are ready to rejoin the early years sector.
Through the previously announced Canada-PEI Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, nearly $121.3 million will be invested into the early learning and child care sector in PEI over five years (2021-2022 to 2025-2026), which includes a one-time investment of about $3.6 million in 2021-2022 to support the early childhood workforce. The Agreement seeks to increase access to high-quality, inclusive, flexible and affordable early learning and child care services for Islanders.
To support the successful implementation of this Agreement and support growth, an investment is required to recruit and retain a strong and skilled workforce of professional early childhood educators. As part of the workforce strategy, the province will be investing $50,000 in the Return to ECE Profession Grant to recruit early childhood educators back to the sector.
“Early childhood educators are at the heart of a high-quality childcare system and the foundation of Canada’s future workforce,” said the Honourable Karina Gould, Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “That is why the Governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island are investing in supports for early childhood educators, both to recruit them into the child care sector and to support them to stay.”
In recent years, many well-educated and certified educators have left this workforce pursuing work in other environments. A survey performed as part of the PEI Workforce Strategy Project indicated that many left their position for higher wages. Since that time, the provincial government has increased wages paid to early childcare educators within Early Years Centres, and provided additional resources and staff training opportunities.
“As we continue to grow this sector and the number of designated Early years centres increase, we need to strengthen and expand our workforce. It is important that we continually look for trained professionals to join or rejoin the early childcare sector. We highly value our early childhood educators and the work they do each and every day to care for and support our youngest Islanders. This new grant is a hiring incentive, and a win-win for both the sector and anyone interested in returning to a career in early years.”
- Education and Lifelong Learning Minister Natalie Jameson.
Funding for this grant is provided through the Canada–Prince Edward Island Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. The Government of Canada is making a transformative investment to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care system in partnership with provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners.
To date, the Government of Canada has reached Canada-wide early learning and child care agreements with the governments of British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Yukon, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. The governments of Canada and Quebec also reached an asymmetric agreement to strengthen the early learning and child care system in the province.
Education and Lifelong Learning
The new one-time Return to the ECE Profession Grant for Early Childcare Educators has the following criteria:
- Candidates would be eligible for $5,000 to return to the licensed sector;
- Candidates must be employed with a licensed early learning and child care centre to work with children 0- school entry;
- Candidates must have worked outside the licensed sector for a minimum of two (2) consecutive years;
- Candidates must be certified at a Level 3, or be eligible for re- certification and confirm Level 3 certification within three (3) months of application; and,
- Candidates must work a minimum of two (2) years to avoid repaying the grant